My Remembrance of the War, etc. 1861-1865 : The Memoir of George C. Maguire c.1893

My Remberance of the War, etc. 1861-1865 by George Campbell Maguire (1847-1908)

In approximately 1893 George Campbell Maguire inscribed the final version of his memoir in a small booklet with “Diary” imprinted on the cover. He told of events both large and small that he witnessed as a young boy. Almost all of his memoir are stories of what he himself saw, with a few tales told by others.

He saw the results of the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore and the USS Congress and the USS Cumberland after the attack by the Merrimac. He tells of the crab-eaten dead and the stinking wounded, and he found himself in the Battle of Antietam. Later, Clara Barton asks, “whose boy I was”. In his teens he became a customs man at Harper's Ferry and later in the war he worked at the Hicks Hospital for war wounded and diseased in Baltimore. Many of the brief stories are wry anecdotes of his misadventures and those of others, recounted with humor and affection.

His writing is spare and unadorned, yet a certain pain seems slightly below the surface of some of the darker events recalled and described. The reader inevitably reflects upon the dual and simultaneous perspective of the boy and the man, decades later, who certainly forgot more than he has told us.

by William Maguire

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